At his Friday morning Mass in the Chapel of the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude for those who think of others in this difficult time of the coronavirus pandemic.

These were the pontiff’s words in the introduction to the Mass:

“These days, news has come of how so many people are beginning to care more generally for others; they think of families who don’t have enough to live on, the lonely elderly, the sick in the hospital, and they pray and they try to get some help for them… This is a good sign.

“Let us thank the Lord for raising these feelings in the hearts of his faithful”.

In his homily, and commenting on today’s readings – taken from the Book of Wisdom (2:1, 12-22) and from the Gospel of John (7:1-2. 10. 25-30) – the Pope stressed that the cruelty of those who wanted to kill Jesus was raised by the devil, because behind all destructive fury is the devil.

You cannot argue with those who are enraged; you can only be silent, as was Jesus, who chose silence and the Passion.

It is the style, said Francis, that should be followed even with small daily stubbornness: that is, gossip.

Francis to give special blessing 6pm Rome time for end to virus plague

In the meantime, faithful across the world are invited to join Pope Francis spiritually in prayer on Friday, 27 March at 6 pm Rome time.

The initiative was announced by Pope Francis on Sunday during the Angelus when he said “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication”.

It follows Wednesday’s live-streamed ceremony during which Christians of all denominations were able to join the Holy Father in praying the “Our Father” in this time of global crisis and fear due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed that the moment of prayer on Friday will be broadcast live from the Vatican, beginning at 6 pm Rome time.

He noted that the plenary indulgence attached to the Urbi et orbi blessing is subject to the conditions foreseen by the recent Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary. 

Pope Francis will pray before an empty Square from the sagrato of St. Peter’s Basilica, the platform at the top of the steps immediately in front of the façade of the Church, as he explained when he made the announcement on Sunday and as he reiterated on Wednesday during the General Audience: 

“We will listen to the Word of God, we will raise our supplication, we will adore the Blessed Sacrament, at the end I will impart the Urbi et orbi blessing, and you will have the possibility of receiving a plenary indulgence”.

From 6pm Rome time, the ceremony will be broadcast live to the world by Vatican Media.

It will consist in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication.

The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.

The extraordinary moment of prayer in time of pandemic will last about an hour.

The “Salus Populi Romani” icon and the crucifix of St. Marcellus will be placed in front of the central door of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on the altar in the atrium of the Vatican Basilica.

(With information from Vatican News)

Novena’s full coverage of the Pope’s daily livestreamed Mass during the coronavirus pandemic:

26/3: Coronavirus: In Santa Marta Mass, Francis prays elderly, unemployed, civil servants overcome “suffering”, “fear”

25/3: Francis offers Santa Marta Mass for nuns “giving their lives” for coronavirus sick

24/3: Coronavirus: In Santa Marta Mass, Pope thanks doctors, nurses, priests for “heroic example”, warns against “poison” of pessimism

23/3: Pope prays in Santa Marta Mass for economic victims of coronavirus, urges “perseverance and courage”

22/3: Pope prays in Santa Marta Mass for lonely coronavirus dying and their families

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